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Dear Achievements: I Want my Quests Back on Game and Player

Dear Achievements: I Want my Quests Back

Heather Richtmyre  //  August 25, 2009

Where's the flavor?


ear the end of The Burning Crusade, Blizzard introduced an interesting little concept to World of Warcraft. Achievements. At first, this mainly led to people jumping off the Shattrath elevator and dying half the time. Well, it depended on which elevator you jumped off. Then, the Wrath of the Lich King expansion came out, and people ran around trying to see the Wrathgate event, filed tickets about the various bugs, and asked incessantly about how to get to Dalaran.

It wasn't until I'd hit Level 80 that I noticed some of the particular things achievements had altered. Mainly, that things that were done with quests in The Burning Crusade now depended merely on achievements. For example, titles. The easier-to-achieve raid title in BC was "Champion of the Naaru." This required completion of a long, flavor-heavy quest chain that involved a group quest, heroic runs, a timed heroic run, and killing specific raid bosses. Overall, it consisted of about thirty steps, detailed here. Some of these particularly focused on proving yourself worthy to the Naaru, with aspects such as showing mercy and tenacity.

Even the very simple "Of the Shattered Sun" title required a quest available to players.Originally, this quest chain was required for any raider who wanted to progress past Tier 4 content. Eventually the attunements were removed, with the title providing a reason to go back and still do the quests.

Now, in Wrath we have "Champion of the Frozen Wastes." You kill specific raid and heroic bosses, and receive the title. No flavor quests, no non-player characters asking you to prove yourself and providing accolades when you do. And no fun little additions like a letter from the top.

Of course, the Champion of the Frozen Wastes title could not be implemented as it is without achievements being in the game. Even the very simple "Of the Shattered Sun" title required a simple quest that became available to players meeting certain criteria, where they simply accepted the quest and then turned in one thousand gold to obtain the title. As the achievements remove the need for quests by which to track these things, Blizzard seems to have moved away from utilizing quests in relation to such titles.

Holidays are another area that has been altered by the introduction of achievements. Before their introduction, the "Love is in the Air" holiday — also know as Azeroth's version of Valentine's Day — offered one quest line that led to a piece of unusual clothing, and some drops from specific items could be turned in to vote for your faction leader, along with the occasional rare dress or picnic basket.

here wasn't much new added in Wrath, besides some achievements related to, say, shooting other players with specific items or eating a certain item in Dalaran with a picnic basket. I saw quite a few players trying madly to complete this new and exciting stuff for a title and a later opportunity at a meta-achievement. Was anything really new added for the holiday? No, not particularly. Achievements just pushed people into doing odd stuff that otherwise would have required a quest-giver to track.

Now, overall, achievements can be fun, enjoyable, and sometimes ridiculous. However, Blizzard's use of them seems to be moving away from utilizing quests in some areas of the game — removing much of the immersion and reducing the number of creative events associated with completion.

Articles by Heather Richtmyre

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